Nauru is a tiny island country in Micronesia. It features a coral reef and white-sand beaches fringed with palm trees, 40 km south of the Equator. It has a total population of around 14,000 people.

Imagine you call this small island your home. Undoubtedly a paradise for living, but hell for athletes traveling to international competitions due to its remote location, northeast of Australia.

That’s indeed one of the problems Iniki Uera faces. The Nauru athlete competes in the -90kg weight category at the Judo Worlds in Tokyo. He faced Czech David Klammert and lost the bout.

“It is really hard to go to international competitions,” agrees Iniki. “Even if it’s just ‘around’ in the Pacific. The airfare is really expensive for the athletes. I’m just very fortunate that the IJF has been sponsoring athletes from Nauru for the past events. We get also help from the Oceania Judo Federation. I got the opportunity to train with some of the universities here in Japan.”

Lack of contenders is a practical problem. “Being an athlete in my part of the world, we’re challenged by the absence of contenders, we actually lack opponents to do randoris with as well as being unable to meet the different styles. Europeans for instance have this advantage. Many competitions there. Hence, when we face European judokas, like it was the case in my first bout, they have a different style compared with the traditional Japanese style.”

How to prepare and cope with this lack? “In Nauru we have a traditional wrestling background. It’s a bit like the Mongolian close wrestling style. To prepare encounters against European rivals, I go and practice – where-ever I am – with judokas that have that similar style. I tend to go and randori to get the feel of the different style.”

Leaving Nauru and experiencing big cities like Tokyo is quite an experience for someone from a small island. “The first encounter I had with a big city was when I landed in Brisbane, Australia. But Tokyo sure is the next level. So, crowded with people and all the high-rises, totally different from my home”, Iniki smiles. “A new experience for me as well, but I tend not to let the environment around me interfere with my preparations. I try to block out everything and focus on what’s ahead of me.”

Competing in the legendary Budokan left quite an impression on Inika. “I had to look around when I entered the field of play. I just had to walk around to absorb the feeling. It was really impressive,” Inika ends.

See also
Judo for Refugees
The gold of freedom

17. Nov. 2019 / Saeid Mollaei will soon resume his career under the ...

VIDEO
#JudoOsaka Promo

13. Nov. 2019 / The Osaka Grand Slam, the final Grand Slam of the season, ...

JUDO FOR PEACE
Judo continues to grow in Za'atari

12. Nov. 2019 / Alaa Qasim Alwadi is the epitome of a respected judo ...

VIDEO
TOP 5 IPPONS - Abu Dhabi Grand Slam 2019

11. Nov. 2019 / Watch the top 5 ippons from the penultimate Grand Slam ...

Watch Teddy Riner's return to Bercy
Tickets on sale for Paris Grand Slam 2020

08. Nov. 2019 / The world-renowned Paris Grand Slam, the IJF’s iconic ...

When Japan takes care of elderly people
Yawara-chan taiso

07. Nov. 2019 / The oath of Hippocrates is much more than a consecration ...

Ono, Maruyama, Abe Uta & Sone could seal Olympic spot
Japan picks strongest team for Osaka GS

05. Nov. 2019 / The All Japan Judo Federation have picked their strongest ...

EDITORIAL
WELCOME TO THE JUDO FAMILY

02. Nov. 2019 / It is very easy to comment, debate and criticize in ...

News
SAEID MOLLAEI GRANTED WITH THE 'RECOGNIZED REFUGEE‘ STATUS

02. Nov. 2019 / It's a decision that Saeid Mollaei has been waiting ...

Judo for Peace
IJF President visits the Republic of Sport

02. Nov. 2019 / A few days ago, the IJF President, Marius Vizer, visited ...

World Judo Day 2019
Judo Community plants more than 5300 Trees for a Better World

31. Oct. 2019 / The challenge was at the height of the challenges of ...

breaking news
PRESIDENT PUTIN VISITED IJF PRESIDENT VIZER IN BUDAPEST JUDO HEADQUARTERS

30. Oct. 2019 / The President of the Russian Federation and the honorary ...

ASM Belfort Judo visits Neo Judo in Yokohama
France and Japan exchange

30. Oct. 2019 / France and Japan have shared arguably the strongest ...

INTERVIEW EXPRESS
Shishime Ai (JPN)

08. Jun. 2018 / The next reigning world champion to be invited to answer ...

News
5 Key Takeaways from judo’s first Tokyo 2020 qualifier

06. Jun. 2018 / Highlights from Hohhot Grand Prix 2018

VIDEO
Judo for the World in Iran

07. Jun. 2018 / In April 2018, the International Judo Federation and ...

Meeting
JUDO: A Beneficial Cause

07. Jun. 2018 / 'Society should believe in sport as a beneficial cause ...